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My Sleep Hygiene

January 1, 2023

I have begun to mentally prepare for returning back to work after a brief vacation for the Christmas holidays, because I am already beginning to experience feelings of discomfort. While I had a wonderful and much needed break, I don’t feel like I had much “fun”. I got a lot of chores up-to-date, I got enough rest that the dry cough that had lingered for over a month is finally gone, and I managed to get my credit score back up, which I am really proud of. But I want more time to relax and just be. The fact is, the new year is here, the holidays are over, and I am back to the challenges that I was facing a week and a half ago, with the setbacks of starting a new job.

As I therefore practice gratitude as my immediate self-soothing remedy, I sincerely feel thankful for one of the best holiday seasons to date. Tomorrow will be my last day off, and I am considering how I might maximize what time is left of it, so that I can feel more well-rounded for returning to work on Tuesday. That is what inspired this post, as I am hoping to give some encouragement on ways to gracefully move from day to night, in preparation for a good night’s sleep. For me, having a restful night sleep is my number one wellness hack. It’s not really a hack, it’s a life-giving act that we all do, but I’ve noticed our culture doesn’t credit its importance well enough. Erratic sleep schedules, not enough sleep, or too much screen-time before bed are all habits that prevent us from the restorative sleep that we need to integrate our minds and heal our bodies.

Rather than giving a list of what to do, which as a health coach is not what I am at all trained to do, I will instead outline my plans for tomorrow, and if any of that resonates, feel free to try it out as well! To start, while I don’t enjoy the act of rising after sleeping, I do love the mornings. After that initial 5-15 of grogginess passes, I feel pretty good. Since I am not working tomorrow, I’ll have time to meditate. I’ll feed the cats, make a coffee, and set my 15 minute timer for a purely silent meditation. I’ll then write if anything comes to mind, either at the table so I can look out the window, or at my computer for easier typing. Even on the days I go to work, I usually really enjoy my first few hours after rising; that is the time I feel the most creative and inspired. I’m happy to have discovered that I can easily write posts on my Notes app, even when on the train to work.

I won’t outline what I will do during the day tomorrow, as I don’t actually have any plans. Instead, I’ll note down my wind-down plans, because this is where I need to be the most intentional, and is really the meat and potatoes of this post. The beginning of the day when I sleep in, and the end of the day when I can’t pull myself away from the computer, are when I lose the most time. Therefore, I need to be really clear on my goals. I have started reading before bed, in bed. This has been my dream to do for a very long time now. When I was young, I would go to bed before lights out, just so I could read. Since becoming an adolescent, and then since getting a computer/smartphone, I haven’t been able to read books much at all, let alone get to bed before crossing the line to pure exhaustion and reading.

Reading in bed has actually been a self-soothing act for me, and so I want to make sure I have the energy for it tomorrow, because I suspect I will be feeling pretty nervous about going back to work. My goal is to be in bed by 9 pm, so that I can read for one hour. Well, 9 pm comes fast. I’ll also want to make sure I: 1) Have my lunch ready, 2) Have my laundry done, 3) Have a clean home before starting a new work week. These are the things I need to make sure I am not starting at, say, 8 pm ๐Ÿ™‚ It gets tricky, then, doesn’t it? ๐Ÿ˜‰

I find that setting goals is such an effective way to get to where we want to go, and booster confidence. I actually haven’t set a goal in a while, so that I am writing a post on it on New Year’s Day seems appropriate. I have always struggled with time-management, so in this case, my goals for tomorrow are revolving around that. We might have other areas that require attention. As a health coach, I help people create reasonable and attainable goals. What in your day-to-day routines would you like to change or improve upon? Drop a comment below!

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